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Farmer Injured in Country Lane Collision Awarded Six-Figure Damages

Country lanes can be just as hazardous as motorways and it is up to drivers to make allowances for stationary or slow-moving farm traffic. In a case on point, an apple farmer who was hit by a passing car whilst guiding a lorry as it made a tricky turn was awarded more than £100,000.

Dark had fallen when the farmer dismounted from the lorry's cab with the intention of making hand signals to its driver as he manoeuvred into a yard. As he passed along the vehicle's offside, he was hit by a car, suffering life-threatening injuries. He subsequently launched a personal injury claim against the motorist, who denied that he was to blame for the accident.

Ruling the motorist two-thirds responsible for what happened, the High Court found that the lorry was displaying both hazard warning and beacon lights. It was partially blocking the lane and a reasonable and prudent driver would have either come to a halt or slowed right down. The motorist took no such precautions and passed the lorry at a speed of 25 to 30 mph.

The farmer was wearing dark clothing and had a view of 40 yards along the road to the brow of a hill. Ruling him one-third responsible for the accident, the Court found that his failure to wear a high-visibility jacket was blameworthy. He had also paid insufficient attention to the oncoming car.

His injuries included a broken leg and a fracture of a vertebra in his neck that could have been fatal. He also suffered psychological trauma. He was awarded damages reflecting, amongst other things, his pain and suffering, profits lost by his farming business during his recovery period, and the costs of his care. After a one-third deduction, his award totalled £119,783.